Presenters sometimes get easy, softball questions after presentations but not always. It seems like there is always at least one person who asks a prickly or hostile question.
It is obviously very important to handle moments of pushback like these with composure to maintain your own credibility and listeners’ goodwill. Here are a few important tips for responding well to hostile questions.First, do not repeat the negative language of the person asking the question. Let’s say they ask, “Don’t you think the costs are ridiculously high for that proposal?” You do not want to begin your answer by saying, “No, I don’t think the costs are ridiculously high . . .” It’s not a great way to begin an answer when those negative words are coming out of your own mouth.
Instead, I recommend using a cost-benefit-analysis style format to respond to hostile questions. The basic philosophy of this approach is to acknowledge the cost or downside implied in the question but quickly pivot to the benefits of the direction you are suggesting.
See the video for specific details and examples for crafting your response.
Humor is a great way to start a presentation if you do it right. I want to be clear. I don’t mean opening with an actual joke that has a classic setup-punch line format. However, I do recommend using humor.
When you open with a joke like a comedian, you are making a high-risk but low-reward choice. You may get lucky and earn a genuine laugh but the chances of that are very low. In most cases, you’ll hear silence or maybe a nervous chuckle from a couple of people. That is not the way you want to kick off a presentation.
We’ll look at three low-risk ways to add some humor to your presentation.
First, the easiest way is by quoting somebody who is funny. As you are preparing your presentation, you’re likely to come across some humorous quotations to share. Be sure to say, "As [blank] once said . . ." as you transition into the quotation. That will help to transport your listeners so they are focused on the quotation and the person who originally said it. This will help listener's hear the other person's voice in their heads and take the attention off of you as the one performing a joke.
Take a look at the video for two more ways to use humor to open a presentation.
What exactly is “uptalk” and is it unprofessional? Put simply, uptalk is the tendency for some speakers to use an upward inflection on the end of their sentences so that everything sounds like a question. Uptalk or “upspeak” is often associated with the way teenagers talk in Southern California but is no longer limited by geography.
Surprisingly, uptalk has become a somewhat controversial communication topic.
On one side of the argument, some people think it is perfectly acceptable. One way speakers use uptalk, for instance, is to continue their talking turn. When their voice goes up, it signals that they are not yet done speaking and it helps them maintain a bit of ownership of the communication. Another way speakers use it is to make their point with an invitational and less argumentative sound. Still another function is to check for understanding, support, and to make sure listeners are following along.
On the other side of the argument, critics say it sounds young, insecure, unprofessional, and annoying. A study covered in the dailymail.com entitled, "Want a Promotion? Don’t Speak Like an Aussie,” showed that 85% of supervisors thought uptalk would hurt an employee’s chances of receiving a pay raise or promotion.
In other words, even if we personally believe uptalk is not a problem, it may be hurting our credibility with listeners.
See the video below for some simple tips to reduce your uptalk
Most presentations lead into a question and answer segment. It's often when I've seen even skilled presenters fall apart and go off script. This video teaches you how to identify direct questions and give direct answers.
Ultimately, Q&A should feel very much like a dialogue between the speaker and listeners rather than the feeling of a monologue you get when somebody is presenting.
Let's look at some key differences between what it means to be a leader vs. a manager. The first and most obvious differences is that managers are tied to an official position whereas leaders can lead from anywhere in an organization or community. The video unpacks the specific communication-based differences.
If you're an emerging leader interested in increasing your impact, this is the place for you.